Thursday, January 31, 2008

Strategy for when you're down and out.

There is only one thing to do when you have a chip stack less than twice the blinds. You go all-in pre-flop. Poker has very few strategies that are good regardless of table aggression, tournament timing, and an array of other variables, but this strategy is always good. Mostly because you have no choice.

The best plan is to not allow yourself to get in this position, but it happens to the best of us. Whether you have lost a huge pot leaving your stack on life-support, or you haven't seen anything but a 72 off for the last half of the tournament, it's the seventh hour now and you must decide to make your stand before the blinds hit you again. It is a common mistake of newbies to wait for a great hand even now, but chances are it won't come. And if the big blind hits and you don't, you are forced to go all-in on the small blind for only half as much a return on your investment.

If you are reading this, you probably already know that much. This is how I usually try to hang on to my tournament life: Assuming I have at least five hands to see before the big blind hits, I will wait for any ace, pocket pair, suited connector, or any two cards both above an eight. In the unfortunate event I see none of these, I go all-in blind on the big blind. Might as well let the table know you aren't looking at your cards so you get as many callers as possible, because at this point, you want a miracle. Miracles don't double you up, they quadruple you up, which is good because even if you do double up, you are still on the cutting block.

I don't like leaving my fate up to the poker gods, but sometimes it is all you can do. That is why it is important to play strong and take risks earlier in the game when you have the chips to intimidate your opponents. A chip in a chair requires a lot of luck. A stack and a chair is when you can really play.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post grundy and I agree with you 100%.